Marvel

Marvel Studios

One of the many highlights of Guardians of the Galaxy (out next week) is when the gang pays a visit to The Collector. James Gunn‘s film already had shades of strange, but Benicio del Toro kicked it up a few notches. Once you visit his black market, you don’t want to leave it. Maybe the film’s biggest problem is del Toro: he’s not in it enough. They’ll likely incorporate him more in future Marvel movies, but he’s a character you want to see more of. Take one look at that guy and it’s pretty obvious he lives an interesting life. Him wheeling and dealing with that funky outfit on could be as exciting as any huge set piece. The fact of the matter is, we need a movie about The Collector. It wouldn’t have to be a super expensive tentpole movie. The Collector is the kind of character we don’t need to see in action. He’s engaging enough on his own. In the past there’s been talk of Marvel movies making smaller scale pictures. They recently announced their release date schedule for the next five years. It’s doubtful any of those summer and fall releases aren’t huge blockbusters. That’s fine, of course, but wouldn’t fandom turn up for a smaller Marvel movie? A little slice of life kind of story in the life of a hero or villain?  Will we ever see those movies from Marvel in the future? “Well, someday,” Marvel’s Kevin Feige tells us at the press day for Guardians of the Galaxy.

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BIG HERO 6

He’s fluffy, slow, and he’s about to get an upgrade [cue the Beyonce song]. He’s Baymax, and he is the perfect best friend as long as he doesn’t run out of batteries. The Big Hero 6 trailer makes the movie feel like a family friendly Iron Man blended with The Iron Giant and whatever else has “iron” in the title. It’s also a nice reminder that there’s another Marvel movie coming out that seeks to fill the Pixarian void. Check out the trailer, and see if you can guess who’s voicing Baymax, the fluffy robot who earns afterburners.

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Avengers Age of Ultron Set

The camera zooms in on a hectic street scene as percussion-soaked discordant rhythms elevate your blood pressure. An eerie green sail is lifted to tribal beats. A human the size of an ant side steps the rubble and faces forward. Everything is blurry at first, but as the clouds begin to lift, we can finally recognize a figure efficiently, almost poetically, hosing down a street. Is it a commentary on the deep dichotomy between the hurry up and wait boredom of a movie set and the end product made of pure excitement? Is it a mirror held up to our own voracious fan tendencies? Is it an indictment of movie website culture where bold names are heralded daily and ad nauseam no matter how uninteresting their latest still shot or promotional video may be? Undoubtedly, yes. Like Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” Mattia Renaldo (the well-respected video artist who’s dabbled in special effects-laced political commentary) has gone behind the scenes of Avengers: Age of Ultron in order to show us how the spandex sausage is made. Not content simply to show filmmaking at its most naked, he’s placed intense backing music to underscore and parody how thrilling we often imagine the creative process to be, despite the eye-gougingly dull reality. The juxtaposition is striking in every frame.

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Bring It On

If it suddenly got cold where you are, there must be some Toros in the atmosphere. After a wild, post-Wright ride to pick a director for Ant-Man, Marvel has picked a winner that absolutely no one could have guessed. Even when you tell your friends that it’s the director behind Bring It On, Yes Man and The Break-Up, they probably still won’t be able to pull his name out of thin air. But it’s right there in the headline, so we’ve got an advantage. Peyton Reed will step in where Edgar Wright has stepped out. According to Marvel, Reed will helm the project, and the major cast is all still in place. Paul Rudd is still Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Michael Douglas is still Henry Pym/Probably Old Ant-Man. Plus, Marvel is also reporting that Adam McKay — once thought to be in the running for the director gig — will be contributing to the script.

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Ant-Man

Originally, the Ant-Man movie didn’t need a director. There was no search to be launched, no shortlist, no dream team, no meeting-taking. Weirdly, the movie really needed a studio — sort of. Of course an Ant-Man movie would be a Marvel movie, but Marvel Studios was long resistant to launch the title, even with filmmaker Edgar Wright so famously gung-ho on the gig and so firmly attached to directing the thing, no matter when the studio finally decided that the mid-level, ant-sized superhero really could fit into its grand vision of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The director and the studio went back and forth for years before Marvel officially set Wright for the job and announced that, hey, they’re actually making the movie. That, of course, all changed two weeks ago, when Wright left the project (one he’s been working on for nearly a decade) over creative differences. In the relatively scant time since, Marvel has scrambled to find a new director (or, at the very least, that’s what it looks like from the outside) with continually disappointing results. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Is there some kind of timeline we can look at? There is! Behold — a brief history of the search for the Ant-Man director who was already in place for nearly this entire time before everything went to hell.

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Big Hero 6 Disney

After Guardians of the Galaxy was announced as the next Marvel team venture, much speculation was given to the potential success of the first post-Avengers franchise, due to the relative unfamiliarity of the comic. But while we’ve all been hemming and hawing and throwing out AOL keywords like “talking tree” and “raccoon with blaster gun” and “David Hasselhoff trailer dude cool,” the studio has quietly produced yet another movie that we’ve (and they’ve) let slip by the wayside. Big Hero 6 comes to us from Disney Animation, a Marvel property that follows a kid and his robot sidekick in the futuristic society of San Fransokyo. In the Marvel comics, the Big Hero 6 is a team of state-sanctioned superheroes formed by the Japanese government to fight crime at their disposal, a handy dandy group of do-gooders and superpowers that are at their disposal to fight crime and any forces of evil that try to topple their ranks. It’s kind of the perfect solution to all of our international relation needs, isn’t it?

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Guardians of the Galaxy Groot

Ever since it was announced, the prevailing wisdom was that Marvel was taking a huge gamble on Guardians of the Galaxy. That prevailing wisdom has always been wrong. At least this property — which isn’t all that popular even among comic book readers — isn’t a gamble in the same way that Iron Man was. That was the case of a third rate hero getting the big budget, cinematic treatment. This is the case of a third rate group of heroes getting the big budget, cinematic treatment from one of the most trusted blockbuster companies in the world. People will be going for the Marvel name, regardless of what the heroes call themselves. This new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer is proof. Or at least it’s proof that Marvel doesn’t see this as the same gamble everyone else does. They’ve turned wacky all the way up to 11 here. If they were trying to fool people into going to see The Same Old Marvel Movie they know and love, they could do it easily with flashes of action and an empty, bombastic score highlighting the dutch angles. Instead, they’ve gone with Norman Greenbaum jams and a tree giving a little girl a flower. Check it out for yourself:

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Open Road Films

If someone said in 2001, “I bet this Jon Favreau guy — the star, writer, and director of Made – is going to help turn Marvel into one of the most successful film studios ever,” you probably would’ve written them off as insane. When you think about it, though, Favreau exhibited a voice for character, story and comedy in Made and Swingers that was well-suited for the Marvel universe. His sensibility made Iron Man a hit, impacting the tone and spirit of the Marvel films that followed. After his one-two punch at Marvel and a crack at a high-concept western, Favreau has returned to his roots with Chef, a film about a creatively unsatisfied cook, Carl Casper (Favreau), who also has to reconnect with his son. Some say the film is really about a filmmaker frustrated by the system, but, first and foremost, it deals with the important choices in life a creative has to make. “I knew I wanted to talk about the balance of career and family,” Favreau tells us. “By the time you hit my age, those little decisions you’ve made really affect your life and you think, ‘How did I end up here?’ A lot of people are confused by where they land. Often when you put all your effort into your career, it’s not as satisfying, because you don’t have that base and foundation.” What is success without people to share it with? It’s an age old theme, but it’s something that Favreau hopes resonates.

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Storm in Days of Future Past

More genres, more stories, more women. This week we welcome on Screen Rant‘s Ben Kendrick for an omnibus discussion of the amazing, as-yet-unrealized potential for superhero movies. At what point will audiences get bored with the same rehashed stories? At what point will one superhero movie lose big to another superhero movie in a crowded summer? At what point will studios develop the guts to take real risks? The future may be sooner than we think. Plus, Geoff challenges me to a round of Interrogation Reviewification for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, asking perhaps the most difficult question this series has ever heard. You should follow Ben (@benkendrick), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #56 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Agents of SHIELD Turn Turn Turn

Using an iPhone for the first time required twenty minutes that felt like a full day of setting up, retrieving and resetting passwords in order to order a pizza. Downloading Angry Birds, not to mention calling anyone, meant connecting one device to four others. There are benefits  to that interconnectivity. No doubt. It’s also about stickiness — once someone is plugged into more than one product or service, it makes it a lot harder for them to change horses. That’s why your bank forces you to have a savings account and debit card in order to get a checking account. In the midst of praising Marvel for creating an expansive movie universe that weaves small details into itself and has now injected latex into a weekly television presence, the potential negatives of its interconnectivity have flown under the radar. All the positives are still there — it creates a great sense of community, rewards fans for being invested and is responsible for 1000% more people using the phrase “easter egg” — but the stickiness of it also threatens non-obsessive viewers with gaps in plot understanding. That’s why seeing the headline “How Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is Now Setting Up Avengers: Age of Ultron” gave me flashbacks to screwing up my iPhone registration.

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Three Days of the Condor

The glut of American superhero films that continue to dominate the US box office have proven time and again to provide a rich and repeated diagnoses of post-9/11 American power. Whether showing an empowered Spider-Man triumphantly swinging between NYC buildings, depicting Bruce Wayne going all Patriot Act to save Gotham from being subsumed in terror, witnessing Iron Man privatize the defense industry, or simply blowing up iconic buildings ad nauseum, these films have served – sometimes with surprising depth – as startling funhouse mirrors for 21st century values, sentiment, and fears as they bear upon the politics and iconography of armed defense and homeland security. But no other film in this endless cycle of cinematic behemoths has explored with such clarity and precision the larger paranoia-industrial complex as Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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The Conversation Movie

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Chris Pratt in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

It was inevitable I guess. We used to get full trailers and artistic posters for upcoming movies, but those days are gone and have been replaced by teasers and amateur Photoshop retreads. And now the next target of over-zealous studio marketers appears to be the “clip.” Typically a clip is an uninterrupted thirty to sixty seconds from a scene in the movie — an action beat, a setup and punchline or a big character moment — something to offer a taste of the film beyond a trailer edited to hit the sweet spots. Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy is the studio’s biggest risk since the first Thor film in that its characters are a bit outside the typical superhero realm readily accepted by audiences. So yes, any marketing that reaches eyeballs is a good thing. But calling something a clip when it’s actually nothing more than a new teaser featuring a few seconds of new footage and a whole lot of what we’ve already seen? That’s just rude. Keep reading to check out a brief new look at Guardians of the Galaxy that debuted on MTV last night.

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Marvel Entertainment/Twentieth Century Fox

If you’ve gotten the impression that comic book movies are borrowing heavily from other comic book movies, you aren’t alone. From portals in the sky to heroes in giant metal suits and bad guys shooting deadly beams of light from their faces, Marvel movies (and aren’t they almost all Marvel movies…) all basically look the same. Their success is rubbing off on other spandex-based films. For better or for worse. There’s a cohesive universe being created, but it’s also flattening the landscape. Fortunately Matt Patches has done the screenshot research and has the photo proof of a gut feeling. Feast your eyes on our Visual Guide to Marvel Movies Looking The Same.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America has had a tough life. Steve Rogers, created over 73 years ago by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, has been put through the wringer time and time again. Sure, he made a hell of an introduction by punching Adolf Hitler in his first issue ever, but his luck soon ran out. He went to hell, fought communists for Joseph McCarthy, and, at his lowest and most desperate, worked as a History professor. As we all know, teaching history is far worse a gig than having to fight Nazi Werewolves. Now things are on the up for Captain America, at least for his public image. In 2011 he got his own movie — let’s just pretend the 1990 version never happened — and it was the top dog of Marvel’s Phase I. Now that the studio has successfully moved into Phase II, Director Joe Johnston‘s Captain America: The First Avenger has managed to remain the best of the bunch. Its sequel, Captain America: Winter Soldier, is a close second. Captain America (Chris Evans) faces his greatest threat yet: his best friend, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), a.k.a. The Winter Soldier. The world may have been threatened in The Avengers, but global annihilation doesn’t match the personal stakes that come from having to fight your BFF, who’s been turned into an unstoppable killing machine with a shiny metal arm. This isn’t just Captain America taking on some power hungry villain, but Steve Rogers having to confront a friend. The personal stakes aren’t all Captain America: The Winter […]

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To Do List from Captain America 2

When you wake up after 70 years encased in ice after plunging into the Arctic and get thrust back into modern day New York City, you’re bound to have a few questions. Such is the case with our pal Steve Rogers, who, from a one-off joke in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has vowed to catch up on a few missed events and pop culture references during his time “asleep.” While Captain America set up our star-spangled defender as the super soldier boasting Dr. Erskine’s serum and a grand sense of duty without said serum, The Avengers served to give the character a different edge as comic relief in his time after unfreezing. After all, the world is a strange and startling place – even when you’ve lived through morphing into a handsome, all-powerful 1940s action star, fighting a terrifyingly faceless Nazi supervillain and crashing a plane into the Arctic Ocean. It’s not that the Steve Rogers depicted in The Avengers is easy to make fun of, but after 70 years removed from society, it’s as if your dear, somewhat clueless grandpa has come to join the superhero initiative you and your friends have worked so hard to put together because your mom (clearly Nick Fury in this scenario) said that you should all bond. While Captain America’s military expertise and combat strategy is unmatched among his fellow Avengers, it’s not enough sometimes to keep certain members from teasing their “elderly” comrade. Or at least not Tony Stark.

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Captain America

Captain America is everywhere right now. He’s in TV ads and action figures, comics and video games (also something else I seem to be forgetting). But how many of those who’ve seen Steve Rogers battle evil across diverse forms of media actually know the ifs, ands and buts of where he came from? Well, now you too can be a Cap expert, without having to read the 7000+ comic books (seriously) Captain America has appeared in. Just consult the history below; a history portioned out by the eras of comic bookery. Traditionally, the Golden Age lasts from the late 30s – late 40s, Silver Age is mid 50s – 70, Bronze Age is 70 – 85, and Modern Age is 85 – today. Sometimes there’s a Copper Age and a Tin Age, but for ease of organization let’s not get into all that. Instead, let’s begin with the first of many Ages.

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Big dragons in Game of Thrones

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The Avengers

In his most recent cinematic appearance, Captain Steve Rogers (best known as Captain America) was called “The First Avenger,” as per the subtitle of the 2011 film. But did you know that he wasn’t the first Avenger according to the comic books? Of course you did, as you are all nerds. That said, below you’ll find a new infographic chronicling the history of Marvel’s Avengers. From the fact that the original team’s line-up didn’t include Steve Rogers to the current Marvel Cinematic Universe and its billions of dollars worth of box office sales, it shows us a bird’s eye view of the legacy of The Avengers. As Captain America gets ready to move the Marvel Cinematic Universe forward next month in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, let’s take a moment to look back over the history of the team that has led the way for Marvel for decades.

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Frozen Princess Elsa

Disneyphiles rejoice. In conjunction with the digital release of the massively successful Frozen, and the arrival of Thor: The Dark World on DVD/Blu-ray, Disney has launched its own movie streaming service, where fans will be treated to a full catalogue of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel releases, to the tune of more than four hundred titles up for purchase. Called Disney Movies Anywhere, as the name suggests, the multi-platform streaming service is tailored for mobility, currently available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and web, and even your television via Apple TV through AirPlay or iCloud. The new cloud-based app service, powered by iTunes, is currently offering a limited time free digital download of Pixar’s massive 2004 hit, The Incredibles, when users sign up and connect their iTunes account. In addition, digital codes provided in Disney DVD/Blu-ray releases since 2008 will be redeemable upon joining of the service. Using the service will come with a variety of perks, including exclusive featurettes on a large number of titles, bonus features, and a Disney Movie Rewards points system earned via purchase of digital content.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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